Dr. Newman talks with us about ways to help prevent migraines. However, migraines are now understood as a hereditary disorder which means that those with migraines have an over-sensitive brain.
Lawrence C. Newman, MD: Our new understanding of migraine suggests that migraine is a hereditary disorder. In fact a gene is passed down from one family member to another, and what we think is happening with this gene is that the migraine brain is a very over-sensitive brain, and by that I mean those of us who have migraine, myself included, have a brain that doesn't do well with change, change in sleeping patterns, change in the weather, in women change in hormones, that is why migraines tend to occur around the menstrual cycle.
Because migraine sufferers are so sensitive to change, we try to teach them something called headache hygiene. Things they can do to help themselves. The pneumonic that I use for my patients is that we want to plant the SEEDS for success.
Now the first S stands for Sleep. We want our migraine sufferers to sleep regular hours, and that means on the weekends or on vacations, we do not want them sleeping extra hours because not only just too little sleep cause migraine, but oversleeping can induce an attack of migraine as well.
E stands for Exercise. We want our migraine sufferers to exercise at least 30 minutes at a time, at least three day per week, and it is being shown that regular exercises especially regular aerobic exercise can decrease the frequency of somebody's migraine.
The second E stands for Eating. So not only do we want migraine sufferers to identify their food triggers if they are present and avoid those things such as chocolate or cheese or wine or MSG-containing foods. We want them to eat regularly.
Skipping a meal can be just as dangerous to a migraine sufferer as eating the wrong food. D stands for Drinking. Not only do I want our sufferers to avoid things that can cause headache, drinks that dehydrate you.
Alcoholic beverages or caffeine containing foods but drink plenty of fluid. I instruct my patients to drink at least five glasses of water everyday and last S stands for Stress management.
Do something for yourself to relax your stress. If it is walking around the block, taking up a hobby, doing yoga, something you can do for yourself at your own time to decrease the frequency of the headaches.
Now also many migraine sufferers are worst to taking prevention medication. There are certain herbal products and over-the-counter products that can be used.
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin in high doses, 200 to 400 mg per day has been shown to decrease the frequency of migraine. Magnesium supplementations or CoQ10 has been shown also to decrease migraine.
And lastly the herbal product butterbur has been shown to help migraine sufferers decreasing the frequency and severity in both children and adults who suffer from migraine.
Learn more about Dr. Newman: http://www.einstein.yu.edu/faculty/profile.asp?id=5174